The cave temples of Mogao are near Dunhuang at the extreme western end of the Silk Road in China. Founded by Buddhist monks in the fourth century, the caves were inhabited as an isolated monastery for over 1,000 years. The murals with which the caves were decorated create one of the finest examples of Buddhist art in China, reflecting the changing styles of Chinese art for more than a millennium. The caves were also the repository of many other treasures, including works on silk and paper as well as tens of thousands of Buddhist manuscripts. The site itself, on the fringes of the Gobi desert, is one of great beauty and historical resonance. This book examines 50 of the finest caves in detail. Richly illustrated and beautifully designed, it gives an unparalleled introduction to the site, the quality of the murals and the other contents, and outlines one of the most fascinating stories in Asian history.
Fan Jinshi, President of the Dunhuang Research Institute, has worked at Dunhuang since 1963, dedicating herself to the preservation and management of the caves and their contents.